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Listen Up

Posted by Alicia Gurrieri, Program Assistant | Posted on: November 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

In a recent CNN interview, Don Lemon responds to Joan Tarshis' account of rape by simplifying her trauma into a situation that could have been easily resolved if she had used her teeth as a weapon. Wow, thanks Lemon! You have single-handedly discovered how to end rape. You hear that, people? All you need to do is, well, not get raped. Why is it that easy, you ask? Because rape is not about using forms of intimidation to paralyze someone into complete powerlessness. It is not about using force, coercion, drugs, etc., to limit one’s ability to consent. And, it most certainly is not about power and control dynamics…oh wait…YES IT IS. 

Lemon tip-toes into the conversation by prefacing it with, "I don't mean to be crude, ok?" Although, it comes across more as a, "I know this may sound inappropriate...but I am being sincere, so please just go with it anyway." I wouldn't describe his insinuation as crude, but I would describe it as a question from a person who does not understand rape, at all, which is not necessarily his fault. However, every time I listen to him say, “You -- you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it,” I cringe. He uses the same sort of “duhh” tone I used when I told my nana no, the Spice Girls are not still hip.

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1 in 3 Women Have Abortions. It’s Okay, They Know What They’re Doing

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: November 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

Being an abortion provider is not easy. On top of the risk and stigma, there is an unprecedented amount of regulation that impacts the day-to-day work, more than in any other line of healthcare. Between 2010 and 2013, more abortion regulations were passed in the U.S. than in the decades prior. In my former state of North Carolina, House Bill 854, also known as the “Woman’s Right to Know Act” [PDF] went in to effect in October 2011. The law imposed 24 hour waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and state scripted counseling for women in North Carolina seeking abortion. It forced providers to state medically ambiguous information about an unproven link between abortion and future fertility, and forced patients to listen to the description of an ultrasound, even if they did not want to. It also required medical providers to “inform” patients seeking abortion that child support and/or government assistance may be available to them if they carried their pregnancy to term. At the time, I worked at a women’s health clinic that provided abortion services.

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In San Francisco and Across the Country Workers Call for Schedules That Work

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco voted on historic legislation to ensure workers in San Francisco’s chain restaurant and retail stores have predictable and stable schedules. The vote was 10-0 in favor of the legislation—completely unanimous and a veto-proof majority!

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Judicial Nominations Update: Lame Duck Edition

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: November 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

On Tuesday, Senator Reid filed for cloture on five district court nominations (Pamela Pepper to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brenda K. Sannes to the Northern District of New York, Madeline Cox Arleo to the District of New Jersey, Wendy Beetlestone to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Victor Allen Bolden to the District of Connecticut). Four of the nominees are women and would increase gender representation on the bench – for example, Pamela Pepper would be the first woman judge in the district to which she has been nominated. Cloture and confirmation votes are expected this week.  

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Five Things to Remember During Open Enrollment this Year

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: November 18, 2014 at 03:10 pm

Open enrollment for health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins this weekend. Open enrollment is an annual opportunity for women to compare their insurance options and, depending on their circumstances, renew with their current plan, enroll in a new plan, or apply for Marketplace coverage for the first time. In 2014, more than 4 million women enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. This year, many more women and their families are likely to shop for coverage and select a new health plan.

As women consider their options during open enrollment, here are five things to keep in mind:

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Child Care Workers Still Not Earning What They're Worth

Posted by Karen Schulman, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: November 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

Child care workers’ wages have barely grown over the past 25 years, and are among the lowest of all occupations, according to a report released today by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. The report, Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study, found that the average hourly wage for child care workers in 2013 was $10.33, which was just 1 percent higher than in 1997 after adjusting for inflation.

According to the report, preschool teachers earn slightly higher wages than child care workers—$15.11 an hour on average—and these wages have grown by 15 percent since 2013 after adjusting for inflation. Yet preschool teachers still earn less than kindergarten teachers (who earn an average hourly wage of $25.40) as well as about 80 percent of other occupations. This difference in salaries is not completely explained by a difference in education levels. While preschool teachers with a bachelor’s degree earn more than preschool teachers with only an associate’s or high school degree, they still earn less than kindergarten teachers with a bachelor’s degree.

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We All Need Schedules That Work

Posted by Elizabeth Johnston, Fellow | Posted on: November 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

Today is my little brother’s birthday. It’s a big birthday, but not for good reasons. Today, TJ turns 26, which means that he can no longer be on my parents’ health insurance. He works as a bartender at a few different places and does not have health insurance through his employer. Last week, he and I sat down to figure out what plan he should sign up for on the healthcare exchange. And things got complicated.

Because TJ’s shifts and hours change with such frequency, he has a really hard time budgeting. He could not tell me for sure how much he could afford to pay for health insurance in any given month. He couldn’t tell me which subsidies he might qualify for. This type of instability is a common problem for workers in low-wage hourly jobs. In one study [PDF], between 20 and 30 percent of low-wage workers reported a reduction in hours or a layoff when work was slow. And another found [PDF] that for 59 percent of retail employees employed by one major retailer, either the shifts or the days they worked changed each week.

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Good News From the D.C. Circuit

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: November 14, 2014 at 02:32 pm

For those of us in need of some good news for women's health, the D.C. Circuit Court just came through. In the first Circuit Court decision since Hobby Lobby, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit said [PDF] that non-profit organizations that object to providing birth control don’t get out of complying with the birth control coverage requirement of the federal health care law.

Specifically, the non-profit organizations – including Catholic University – were challenging the "accommodation" provided to them. Non-profit organizations that qualify for the accommodation do not have to provide employees with birth control coverage. Instead, they simply have to send a form to HHS or their insurance company saying they object to covering birth control. The insurance company then provides the birth control coverage without cost-sharing directly to the employees and students.   In other words, as the court said, the non-profits need only "complete the written equivalent of raising a hand in response to the government's query as to which religious organizations want to opt out…. Other entities step in and fill the gap" to ensure women get the benefit.

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